On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 09:51:22 GMT Jennifer Roberts <[email protected]
> whittled these words:
I was just wondering what is the legal rule of thumb when putting up a fence or retaining wall? Am I allowed to go all the way to the property line or must I stay back some amount? By the way I live in Washington State.
The information below is general and is not legal advice for your
The general rule in most states is that fences may be installed on the
boundary line. That general rule can be changed by local rules and
There is a lot of law and doctrine on fencing, especially fences on or
near boundaries re responsibilities for maintenance, shared costs, etc.
There is a lot to consider, e.g. the doctrine of "agreed boundary" such
that it is not always safest to set the fence or wall back from the
property line. Sometime later when memories have faded that set back
line might be taken for the actual boundary causing headaches even if
that "gap" is not actually lost.
Looking into the potential problems now will save headaches later. If
there are neighbor conflicts get them resolved as part of installing the
fence or wall, don't think that merely installing the fence or wall will
reduce the conflict, it rarely does.
Getting a survey done in connection with installing a fence is often a
good investment for avoiding future conflicts.
A good book to get an idea about the issues is "Neighbor law" by Nolo
Another issue to consider is any local regulations regarding fences and
walls. You will have to check with your local authorities regarding
fence and wall regulations - usually the department that issues buidling
permits is the one you want to check with. Those regulations may dictate
where the fence or wall may be built, its materials, its height and other